Xalapa is a college town that enjoys some fine colonial architecture as well as a nice climate in the highlands above the hot and humid Veracruz coast. It is a hilly town with a smart population hence it is sometimes considered to be the San Francisco of Mexico. Home to a considerable number of expatriates and foreign exchange students, the town really isn't on the typical backpacker/tourist path through Mexico.
The Lencero Airport is a very small airport. It is situated outside the city but it is used only for helicopters and very small planes. The closest airport is the Veracruz international airport. It's about 2 hours from Xalapa.
There are no passenger trains in 99% of Mexico since January of 2000. The only important exception is Chihuahua Pacifico between Chihuahua and Los Mochis.
Almost-hourly buses go from Mexico City to Xalapa in several bus lines (ADO, AU), departing from TAPO station. The trip takes 4 hours approximately.
Hilly, densely constructed Xalapa is one of the world's great scooter cities. Rent one and the back areas of the city really open up for exploration.
Museo de Arqueología (Archaeology Museum): a beautifully-designed museum of the cultures of Veracruz. Avenida Xalapa. A worthy rival to the more famous archaeological museum in Mexico City.
- Hacienda El Lencero, Carretera Xalapa-Veracruz Km 10, ☎ no phone. Occasionally called the Museo de Muebles (Furniture Museum), this country estate 14km (8 3/4 miles) southeast of the town center was for 14 years (1842-56) the home of Antonio López de Santa Anna, the 11-time president of Mexico. Here he retreated from the world, though on occasion he opened his doors to receive notable visitors. Furniture from Mexico, Europe, and Asia fills the rooms, illustrating the cosmopolitan tastes of Mexico's upper classes during the 19th century. Among the notable pieces is the leader's bed, embellished with the national emblem (an eagle holding a serpent in its beak).
- Yerba Buena, ☎ 01-228-8187508. Xalapenos Ilustres 22, Centro Historical, Veracruz (CP 91000) - A tranquil and inexpensive popular eatery with friendly staff. Serves a daily set lacto-vegetarian menu, typically a salad and a choice of two soups and main dishes with bread, natural fruit juice and a coffee or a tea for dessert. 33 pesos. (Dec 07). Open 13:30-18:00.
Xalapa has a wide choice of budget hotels. The city should really be a lot more popular with backpackers than it is. The fact most stay on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts is their loss and can be your gain.
* Los Lagos(228)818-2000. 13 de Septiembre No.23. 22 rooms. * Mision de las Americas(228) 814-1145. Av. Xalapa No. 172. 15 rooms. * La Moderna (228) 817-3586. Leona Vicario No. 21. 39 rooms. * El Arebe (228) 817-1777. Av. 20 de Noviembre No. 535. 13 rooms. * Limon (228) 817-2204. Revolución No. 8. 49 rooms. * Yalta (228) 815-0833. Av. Lazaro Cárdenas No. 696. 60 rooms * Araucarias (228) 818-9038. Av. Avila Camacho No. 60. 16 rooms. * Oasis (228) 815-0360. Av. Xalapa No. 1120. 25 rooms. * Bugambilias (228) 814-5863. Av. Miguel Aleman No. 277. 20 rooms. * Atenas (228) 812-8944. Av. Lazero Cárdenas No. 1181. 49 rooms. * El Mirador(228)815-1655. Av. Xalapa No. 1106. 44 rooms. * Tecajetes (228) 812-4973. Bustamante No. 24. 43 rooms.
- Posada La Mariquinta, Alfaro 12, Centro historico, ☎ (01 228) 818 11 58. Very comfortable guest house in quiet neighborhood within walking location of main plaza. Rates are lower for longer stays.
- BG Hotel Los Lagos, 13 de Septiembre, Col., Isleta, Los Lagos, ☎ (01 228) 818 20 00. All rooms have a cable plasma TV, coffee/tea maker, telephone, and Wi-Fi Internet access. Some of its amenities are a restaurant, laundry service, and wake-up calls. Rates on official website start at MXN 708.00.
- BG Hotel Creperie, Av. Avila Camacho No. 60, Col. Centro, ☎ (01 228) 817 34 33. The hotel offers 16 rooms which have plasma TV with cable service, free Wi-Fi access, a coffee/tea maker, telephone, work desk, and a fan. Rates on official website start at MXN 650.00.
- Best Western Xalapa, Av. 20 de Noviembre 522, Col. Tatahuicapan, ☎ (01 228) 818 94 11. All of its rooms have a cable TV, telephone, and electronic keys and lock. Some of its facilities are La Tasca del Quijote (serves a variety of international cuisines), mutifunctional rooms, a business center, and Internet access. Best rates on official website start at MXN 628.81.
- Howard Johnson Plaza de las Convenciones, Av. 20 de Noviembre Ote. # 455 Col. Modelo, ☎ (01 228) 8182020. All rooms equipped with cable television, coffee/tea maker, telephone, and Internet access. Some of its facilities are swimming pool, fitness room/gym, laundry service, and safe deposit boxes. Rates on official website start at MXN 1,016.95.